So, Apple launched its iTunes Plus DRM-free downloads yesterday, and the company is already catching flak for embedding users’ names and email addresses in the files they download. The big idea is that you’ll be able to play the files on devices other than iPods. So what do they work on?
The iTunes Plus tracks are AAC audio files, a format that’s been gaining increased support from device manufacturers. Take Nokia, for example, whose latest music phones are all capable of playing AACs, as can LG’s Prada mobile, Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phones, and sundry Motorola handsets.
Sony’s PSP is also AAC-friendly, although anyone who bought the MP3 player accessory for the Nintendo DS is out of luck. As for consoles, the PS3 can play AACs, as can Xbox 360, although the Wii doesn’t.
SanDisk’s Sansa series doesn’t appear to support AAC, and nor does Creative’s ZEN Vision. And it got more confusing when I tried to play an iTunes Plus track on my supposedly AAC-friendly Nokia N73 – it took one look at the .m4a file and said ‘Unable to play media clip’. And yet in iTunes, the same file is labelled as an AAC.
What to do? Well, it seems the only way to make sure iTunes Plus downloads work on your non-iPod device is to buy one for 99p and try it out. Hurrah for technology standards!